Tag Archives: ALA


It’s Banned Books Week, a week that the American Librarian Association hatched out to promote awareness of censorship (Not to actually promote censorship, we have Fundamentalists for that).  As parents, many of us want to protect little Jimmy and Suzie from the outside world as long as possible.  Obviously, some materials are not appropriate for them to read, which is why you rarely see an issue of Penthouse in a children’s library.  Oh, sure, there’s National Geographic for the truly desperate children, but most of them have figured out the Internet by now, so there’s probably not as many in the corners of libraries giggling over the shirtless women in third world countries.

But what is appropriate and who decides?  What is obscenity, and do you know it when you see it?  Many parents, teachers, administrators, preachers, politicians, and others with an ax to grind seem to know what it is, and by golly, they’re going to protect the rest of us.  These people work tirelessly to make sure that no one sees anything dirty, sometimes exposing themselves to loads of possible pornography.  No sacrifice is too great to protect the children!  At times, they have to go through MULTIPLE viewings, just to make sure.

So then, what are these truly horrific acts of disgusting, vile, trash that those freaky hippie librarians are trying to taint our precious offspring with?  For starters, I’ll give you the most banned book in America, according to the ALA  for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 (apparently they were distracted in 2009).  Prepare yourselves, hide your children, squeamish people shut your eyes and plug up your ears, for this is not for the faint of heart.  The most banned book for these 4 years is . . .

Go ahead.  Look inside . . . if YOU DARE.

That’s right.  It’s not Satanic Verses, or Madonna’s charming “Sex” book, or even that Twilight  book (not for obscenity, just for general insipidness.)  Nope, it’s a book about, and do not forget this . . .

So what’s the story about?  Lance and Jerome, two penguins actively promoting their alternative lifestyle, decide to take a break from their animal gay pride parades in order to start a family.  It goes without saying that there is a lot of gay penguin sex in this book, and more than one Broadway musical number.  Your child will probably become infected with gayness immediately after reading this book.  Stay away.
Wait – are you thinking that’s NOT the actual story?  Okay, fine.  The fact is that this is book is based on a TRUE story about two male penguins in a zoo.  They were good buddies, and kept building a nest, and then were sorely dissapointed when nothing happened.  There was some part of the puzzle they were missing, but they couldn’t quite put their flippers on it.  The zookeepers noticed what was going on.  Now these types of penguins typically lay more than one egg, and the second egg often dies because the focus is on only one.  So they had this extra egg, and these two confused penguins, and thought “What the hell?” (They didn’t actually say that in the book, but that’s the gist of it).  Anyway, they gave them the egg, the penguins were delighted, and they raised the baby like any normal family.  Saying said family are penguins.  There is no gay penguin sex (sorry guys), in fact there is NO REFERENCE to homosexuality at all, except for one line mentioning that the penguins must be in love. 
Now let’s get one thing straight here.  These are not humans.  They’re goofy little birds.  Animals.  They don’t have orientations.  They do have urges, and if you’ve ever seen a dog hump a couch, then you get the idea that they aren’t usually picky about their partners.  Anything in the vicinity, even your leg, will do in a pinch.  But since this was a book for children, about two male anythings and offspring, people got very upset about it.  I’m not for certain whether these banners are prejudiced against gay people or penguins.  Maybe both.  Either way, it has been banned repeatedly, which is simply ridiculous, especially since said banning has only, predictably, increased interest and sales in a book that would probably have barely been noticed otherwise.  Nothing makes something interesting like saying you shouldn’t look at it. 
After seeing this book on the banned list so many times, I thought I couldn’t see anything sillier.  Then I saw this article about Bert and Ernie.  Gay puppets.  On Sesame Street.  For heaven’s sake, people, will you keep your children away from libraries and public television before we pervert the whole country?  Really, where have our standards gone?  Next thing you know, the kid’s going to want to grow up to be a politician.
Bert and Ernie leaving the closet?
Oh, brave new world, that has such people in it.
                                   – William Shakespeare